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The USDA defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Through funding provided for under the Farm Bill and managed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of Delaware’s specialty crop industry.
For the purpose of this grant under H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding, USDA considers enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops through:
The Delaware Department of Agriculture manages a competitive solicitation process to award the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Individual producers, producer groups, organizations, associations, state and local organizations, academia, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply, either as single entities or in combined efforts. Projects should benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole and provide a positive impact with measurable outcomes.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture is looking for grant projects that solely increase the competitiveness of Delaware grown specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of Delaware farmers and strengthen Delaware’s economy in regard to the following priorities specified by the USDA:
• Enhancing food safety;
• Food safety compliance to address specialty crop buyer requirements for mitigating food safety risks.
• Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes;
• Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
• Pest and disease control;
• Protecting and improving pollinator health;
• Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
• Increasing opportunities for new and beginning farmers;
• Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;
• Developing local and regional food systems;
• Respond to risks and supply chain disruptions, assist food businesses, farmers, and farmworkers that address COVID-19 impacts (added for H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding);
• Improving food access in underserved communities and among veterans;
• Increasing urban agriculture and other emerging agricultural practices by bringing food production into busy, populated areas – such as vertical gardens, shipping container farms, rooftop farming, hydroponics, community gardens, community composting, and food waste reduction.
USDA has awarded additional funds through H.R. 133 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding). With the additional funding, the Delaware Department of Agriculture is soliciting competitive grant applications for projects between $5,000 and $100,000. The anticipated start date for projects under this grant will be November 15, 2021, and must be completed by July 31, 2025.
2021 Delaware Request for Proposal- Farm Bill Funding Due by April 20, 2021, no later than 4:30 p.m.
Sample State Plan with examples of grant proposals
|March 18, 2021||Release of Request for Proposals – Farm Bill Funding|
|March 30, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.||Grant workshop held virtually online|
|April 20, 2021, no later than 4:30 p.m.||Grant proposals (Farm Bill Funding) due to DDA|
|May 6, 2021||Release of Request for Proposals – H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding|
|May 26, 2021, no later than 4:30 p.m.||Grant proposals (H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding) due to DDA|
|June 3, 2021||Evaluation Team to select proposals to be included in Delaware’s State Plan|
|June 11, 2021||State Plan submitted to USDA-AMS|
|September 30, 2021||Anticipated USDA-AMS approval|
|October 15, 2021||Grant agreements completed|
|November 15, 2021||Anticipated Project start date|
|July 31, 2024||All Farm Bill Funding projects conclude|
|July 31, 2025||All H.R. 133 Stimulus Funding projects conclude|
For more information or to apply for this grant, please contact Ese Jessa at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at (302) 698-4592 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.